Presentation marking the achievements of The Pensions Archive Trust held at London Metropolitan Archives - Feb 2011

Posted: 1 February 2011

The afternoon and evening event was attended by over 35 people. They included members of the Trust, staff at LMA, company pension scheme trustees and managers, associations and institutes such as The National Association of Pension Funds and The Pensions Management Institute. Depositors in attendance who have transferred records for The Pensions Archive Trust collections included Associated British Foods, Lloyd's Superannuation Fund and UBS Global Asset Management (UK) Limited.

Richard Wiltshire showing attendees the exhibition (David Gould, National Association of Pension Funds and Neville Otty, Pension Archives Trust on the right)

Alan Herbert, Chairman of The Pensions Archive Trust welcomed attendees and introduced the work of the Trust. He explained the aims of the Trust which are to collect an archive and library to give as wide a view of the history of the development of the United Kingdom's occupational and personal pensions for researchers. Alan Herbert saw the Trust's work in creating and maintaining the pensions archive as key way of advancing education of the wider public and those involved in the operation of schemes. He explained that The Pensions Archive Trust was dependent on funding from sponsors in the pensions industry and asked attendees to help continue the work by sponsoring the Trust. Charlotte Shaw, Head of Collections and Systems at London Metropolitan Archives then emphasised how pleased the service had been with working in partnership with The Pensions Archive Trust and the resulting deposits of archive collections at London Metropolitan Archives and events which had been achieved so far.

Richard Wiltshire, Senior Archivist - Business Archives gave the main presentation of the evening. He explained that the Trust had been established in 2002 by a group of concerned pensions professionals and formed in 2005 as a registered company which later received charitable status in 2008. The Trust's partnership with London Metropolitan Archives began in 2006 and was launched at Guildhall Art Gallery in 2008. Since the first deposit in 2007 the pensions archive, through the contacts of the Trust and professional expertise at London Metropolitan Archives has now accumulated an impressive set of collections. These include archives of specific pension schemes, pension bodies, key figures in the pensions world including George Ross Goobey and Jane Newell on Maxwell Pensioners Trust, and a related library of pensions publications, which are available to consult at London Metropolitan Archives.

Event attendees on tour in the LMA's conservation studio viewing a Pensions Archive Trust exhibition

Richard explained that The Pensions Archive Trust funds a full-time archivist based at London Metropolitan Archives, and that a new archivist would be appointed in Spring. The Archivist's role includes liaison with depositors and acquisition of new collections, cataloguing and promoting the archives and work of the Trust and updates to the website (for more information see www.pensionsarchive.org.uk/). He outlined the benefits for depositors in transferring records to the archive, relating to appropriate archival storage and packaging, access for researchers and how organisations can celebrate themselves by using their collections promote their own work and history. He also informed attendees of the way the papers document social change and how they follow on from London Metropolitan Archives existing poor law and charity records, and listed variety of research topics which the collections have attracted including sex equalisation in pension schemes and a white paper for Japanese pension systems. The results of the work The Pensions Archive Trust have been published in Business Archives Council 'Principles and Practice' volume 100 as well as in London Metropolitan Archives' Information Leaflet. In addition to specific depositor events, the service's schools programme has utilised pensions archive material in educating young people about the importance of savings and the impact of ageing on society. A board game 'Futureshock' has been developed in-house and has been played by many young people.

Richard Wiltshire concluded the presentation by highlighting the specialist nature of collections and their relevance to young and old, the unique relationship between The Pensions Archive Trust and London Metropolitan Archives and the way the partnership was a model example for the way forward in safeguarding business archives as promoted through the National Strategy for Business Archives (website: www.managingbusinessarchives.co.uk). He also outlined future work including digitisation of further collections, schools competitions, further deposit of collections and the compilation of a guide to pension records in other archive collections outside The Pensions Archive Trust's holdings.

The presentation was followed by tours of London Metropolitan Archives and an exhibition of The Pensions Archive Trust collections. The evening concluded with an address by Michael Pomery, President of The Pensions Archive Trust.